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The National – “Pink Rabbits”

Well…duh.  The National.  Has any band had a greater influence on our current decade? We’ve witnessed High Violet (2010), Trouble Will Find Me (2013), Sleep Well Beast (2017), and we’re about to get hit with one more dose of brilliance with 2019’s I Am Easy to Find.  So as obvious as it is that The National belong on this list, it’s far less certain what track best highlights why.

They’re a band of consistent excellence, and anyone who loves them knows that ranking their songs is futile.  Everyone seems to identify with a different track for personal reasons, and beyond just grabbing a single such as “Bloodbuzz Ohio” or “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” and calling it their most widely appealing, there’s few ways to objectively approach this.  So I won’t.

The thing is, “Pink Rabbits” still devastates me six years later.  The National are no strangers to forlorn, swaying melodies with downtrodden messages, but there’s something about this tune in particular that resonates with every emotional fiber in me.  It’s a breakup song; well yeah, sort of.  But it’s also about the sting of separation – which the narrator overcomes – only to be confronted by the same girl right as he was on the mend: “I was coming back from what seemed like a ruin / I couldn’t see you coming so far, I just turn around and there you are / I’m so surprised you want to dance with me now, I was just getting used to living life without you around…”

It’s a story all too familiar.  I lived through this exact script, falling deeply, madly in love with a woman who – despite mirroring my affection – felt it best to move just a little bit over 4,000 miles away for reasons that I still struggle to fathom.  It took me years to even begin to let go of her, the concept of us and all of the potential I saw in our future.  Then, the day that I picked up Trouble Will Find Me from a local record store, and had more than just a few flashbacks/breakdowns during ‘Pink Rabbits’, she shows up at my front door after three years of silence.  I swear to god you can’t make this stuff up.  Without divulging my entire life story, I’ll just say that by the time she came back, I was dating my now wife – and her proposal to start anew was simply out of the question.  But that whole portion of my life will forever be tied to this song – the depression, the longing, the return, and the bittersweet feeling that whatever was once possible is no longer viable.

Whew.  Nobody asked for that story, but that’s what happens when you listen to The National.  Things get deeply personal; connections are made and memories forever imprinted in our brains thanks to their inimitable brand of emotional indie-rock.  You could pick a song out of a hat and chances are there’s someone out there with a story just like mine, ready to rattle off at a moment’s notice because the connection is that strong.  Forget song of the decade, should we just crown them band of the decade?

Read more from this decade at my homepage for Sowing’s Songs of the Decade.





SowingSeason
03.09.19
Literally any National song could probably be on this list, if I'm being honest.

Pangea
03.09.19
this would by my national pick as well. beautiful song

Point1
03.09.19
"Has any band had a greater influence on our current decade?"

I mean I love the National but I'm not really sure what their influence has been on music at all.

Slex
03.09.19
A worthy pick

SowingSeason
03.10.19
I suppose maybe the better word choice would have been impact, not influence. I just meant that they're pretty much the biggest band of the decade.

Slex
03.10.19
Best discography of the decade by a landslide, Trophy Scars a distant 2ND tbh

DamnVanne
03.10.19
If we ever go on a road trip together, we’re listening to audiobooks

TheSupernatural
03.10.19
Pink Rabbits is definitely a worthy pick, probably my favorite song of theirs

hesperus
03.11.19
"they're pretty much the biggest band of the decade"

i can't exactly disagree with this statement, but it isn't so much a testament to The National's impact as it is evidence of the overwhelming primacy of solo acts in the 2010s

Faraudo
03.11.19
Humilliation would be my National pick, but Pink Rabbits is a great choice. Also, kudos for selecting Farewell, Mona Lisa as Dillinger's best song of the decade.

SowingSeason
03.11.19
So many possible picks for this band. You're all correct no matter what you pick (well, maybe besides Turtleneck)

Asura14
03.12.19
I gotta get into this band, great writeup Sow

SowingSeason
03.12.19
wow yeah def get into the national if you haven't

anarchistfish
03.13.19
Afraid of Everyone>

Sinternet
03.13.19
'Has any band had a greater influence on our current decade?'

yes

SowingSeason
03.13.19
Who? I'm certain it's possible but it is likely a small list.

Asura14
03.13.19
"it is likely a small list"
I personally can't think of a band that I would consider THE most influential of the 10s, it certainly serves as a good discussion, I can think of a few candidates.
On the other hand if we're talking artists then Kendrick and Drake come to mind (for better and worse)

JesusCage
03.13.19
I think 'about today' would be my pick but "Literally any National song could probably be on this list, if I'm being honest."

SowingSeason
03.13.19
yeah when I say band I usually mean artist, so Kendrick would def be up for consideration (not a huge Drake guy tho)

Asura14
03.13.19
Ye.. I don't care for Drake actually but he's had a huge impact on hiphop

anarchistfish
03.13.19
i feel like kanye's more influential than either of them

SowingSeason
03.17.19
Kanye is definitely more influential long-term but I feel like KL is more specific to the 2010's (and I don't care about Drake so I can't really speak to his influence)

anarchistfish
03.17.19
drake got his sound from kanye west and the weeknd. I don't really see any influence on his part other than one of homogenisation.

neekafat
06.12.19
Listening to this album now at Boney's request, and holy fuck is that an incredible story man, thank you for sharing

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